As an estate agent, you may think it’s quicker, cheaper and easier to take your own photographs rather than hire someone else to do it. But then do you ever wonder why your images don’t always turn out looking great?
These 5 tips will help you to take better pictures of any property and help you achieve that professional look.
Before we get started though, make sure you have a camera that has a manual mode on it. A basic point and click camera just isn’t up to the task unfortunately. At least not if you want to up your game in terms of high quality photos.
Estate agency (or real estate) photography is super important when it comes to really attracting potential buyers. Showcasing a property in its absolute best light can ensure lots of interest and facilitate a quick sale, but it can also be a frustrating task for estate agents to ensure that they get consistent, high quality shots every time, especially if they are not trained or experienced photographers.
When listing a property and taking those all important photos of the interior and exterior, it may be tempting to switch the camera to “Auto” but this is a big ‘no-no’ when looking for consistent, high quality images that will really sell that property.
Trying to understand all of the different settings on a camera in manual mode may seem daunting, so here are my five tips to help you get started taking better pictures of property.
1 . Shutter Speed
What is shutter speed? Shutter speed refers to the shutter mechanism (a little flap) within the camera that opens to allow light onto the sensor (or film). The amount of time that mechanism or flap is open for is called the ‘shutter speed’. The longer the shutter is open for, the more light that is let in and therefore the brighter the picture will turn out, the less time the shutter is open, the less bright the picture will be. Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second, for example, 1/50 shown on the camera means the shutter will be open for one fiftieth of a second. By adjusting the shutter speed on a camera, you can make an image brighter or darker, sharper or more blurry, depending on what type of shot you want to take.
2 . ISO
ISO refers to how sensitive to light a cameras sensor is. Depending of the make, model and quality of your camera, the ISO range can be from 50 to over 400,000! Keeping the ISO number low typically means that the sensor is less sensitive to light, but will produce a much cleaner image than a higher ISO, whereas the higher ISO number will allow images to be taken in much lower light, but they will more likely be ‘grainy’ or ‘noisy’ looking.
Getting the right ISO setting on your camera at the start of your property shoot is one of the most important things to do to ensure you get consistent results and achieve the same ‘look’ across all of your images during that shoot.
Leaving the camera on ‘Auto’ means that the ISO will likely change in every room, if not every image you take and this will make the photos look like typical snapshots that will likely be less than impressive.
“It may be tempting to switch the camera to “Auto” but this is a big ‘no-no’ when looking for consistent, high quality images that will really sell that property.”
3 . Aperture
The aperture is the size of the hole in the lens that lets light in when you click the shutter button to take a picture. It has a number of different effects on the final picture. Firstly, in combination with shutter speed and ISO, it determines how much light is let into the camera. It also determines how much background blur will be in the image or the ‘depth of field’. a large aperture will provide a narrow depth of field, allowing for separation in a image, which means you will have one part of the image in focus, with everything else slightly (or greatly) blurred depending on how large the aperture is set to. A small aperture will let in much less light, but will typically show more or the image in focus (more like how a mobile phone camera works). Adjusting the aperture on a camera is done by changing the ‘F stop’ or ‘F number’. Perhaps counter intuitively, the larger the F number, the smaller the aperture will be. On typical ‘kit’ lenses that are sometimes bundled with entry level cameras, the aperture will only open as wide as F4.5 – F5.6. While this may produce an acceptable image, it might not be enough to produce a bright enough image for darker areas of a property.
4 . Focal Length
To simplify, focal length affects how zoomed in (or out) a picture looks in the viewfinder of your camera and in the final image.
This is one of the most important aspects to consider when photographing property, especially the interior. A small focal length means the field of view will be wider, and a large focal length means a narrower field of view. Interior shots should be taken using as small a focal length as possible. A wide field of view can make a room look much larger than it really is and this also means that fewer pictures need to be used to show off each room. If you have a telephoto lens, which means the ‘zoom’ is variable, set it to as wide as possible (the lowest number), for example 24mm. The most ideal focal length for interior photography is less than this though, around 12mm. Unfortunately, most ‘kit’ lenses that are included with entry level cameras won’t go this wide. Wide angle lenses tend to be more specialist lenses designed for DSLR or Mirrorless cameras.
5 . Composition
Onto the last tip. Composition is the difference between a good image and a bad image. Even if you have mastered all of the above techniques, if you don’t know which way to point your camera, you can end up with a sub-par shot.
Always ensure that you take some time to work out the best spot from which to take an image of a room. Look at the features in the room. Are you getting them all in the photo? Do they look well balanced? Don’t just point and shoot. By taking the extra moment to look at the image in your viewfinder you can turn a mediocre shot into the image that sells the property!
“A basic point and click camera just isn’t up to the task unfortunately. At least not if you want to up your game in terms of high quality photos.”
That’s it! These tips may look a little daunting at first, but with practise, you can transform yourself from photography zero to photography hero, and using them frequently will really help you to improve your skills, and of course make your images really stand out.
They will require some patience and practise though.
However, if you don’t have the time or patience needed to become a truly professional photographer, there are other, easier ways to get that professional look, one of which is to get someone else to do it for you, so why not try Tourify?
Tourify can take care of all of your imaging requirements, and can also add aerial photography, Virtual Tours and stunning videos to your portfolio.
Why not share this article if you think it might be useful: